Interview with Forrest Galante: A Journey into the Wild and Wonderful World of Sharks

Originally published at: Interview with Forrest Galante: A Journey into the Wild and Wonderful World of Sharks - People of Con

Author: Ariel Landrum

As a passionate advocate for mental health and conservation, I was beyond thrilled to sit down with Forrest Galante, wildlife biologist, conservationist, and one of the scientific stars’ of Discovery’s Shark Week. Our conversation was inspiring and highlighted Forrest’s incredible work to protect endangered species and promote conservation efforts. Shark Week happens to be one of my favorite weeks of programming. I haven’t missed one. I have fond memories of learning about these magnificent apex predators in the living room of my childhood homes with my family. In fact, one of my favorite outdoor San Diego Comic-Con activations, dedicated to Shark Week, was in 2019 featuring Sharkzilla. With Shark Week just around the corner, I wanted to share my experience interviewing Forrest and encourage everyone to tune in to his latest episode, Alien Sharks: Ghosts of Japan.

Forrest was born on March 31st, 1988, in California but moved to Harare, Zimbabwe, within the first few months of his life. Growing up on a safari surrounded by African wildlife, Forrest developed a deep love for nature. This unique upbringing fueled Forrest’s passion for wildlife and set him on a path toward a career in conservation.

In 2001, political turmoil in Zimbabwe forced Forrest and his family to escape to California. Despite the upheaval, Forrest found solace in free diving and spearfishing, eventually becoming a world record holder in pole spearfishing. After earning a degree in biology from UC Santa Barbara, Forrest traveled to some of the most remote places on earth, documenting and protecting rare wildlife.

Forrest’s career took off with his appearance on Discovery’s Naked and Afraid, where he achieved one of the highest survival ratings. This led to his own show, Extinct or Alive, on Animal Planet, where he searches for animals believed to be extinct. Forrest’s dedication to conservation has led to the rediscovery of several species and continues to inspire others to protect our planet’s biodiversity.

Meeting Forrest was like stepping into an adventure novel. Forrest shared several poignant memories and insights during our conversation. Growing up in Zimbabwe on a farm surrounded by wildlife, he developed a deep connection to nature early on. “My family ran safari businesses, and I’ve just been around wildlife my entire life,” he said.

His first trip to Mozambique left a lasting impression on him. “We pulled up a little tiny fish called a sweetlips. I was like, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he recalled. This moment ignited his fascination with the ocean.

One of the most impactful moments of our conversation was when Forrest described how witnessing the decline of wildlife in his childhood homeland motivated him to act. “As I got older, I started to see wild places that I grew up loving disappearing, getting clearcut, diminishing animals that I knew by individuals disappearing from environments and habitats,” Forrest recounted.

Discussing his conservation efforts, Forrest noted, “It’s really trying to tell a story of conservation of these rare and unusual species that are hanging on by a thread and how important it is to protect them and learn about them and understand them.” Forrest’s dedication to conservation was palpable as he discussed his mission to document and protect rare species, emphasizing that conservation isn’t just about saving animals; it’s about preserving ecosystems and ensuring the survival of our planet.

He also shared that he believes humans are hardwired to be in nature and that our modern indoor lifestyles contribute to many mental health issues. Forrest emphasized finding purprose and passion, “I strongly believe the more time you spend focused on something else other than yourself, the better your mental state can be.” His experiences in the wild have taught him resilience, courage, and the critical importance of protecting the natural world while inspiring and educating others about the necessity of conservation.

With Shark Week kicking off on Sunday, July 7, hosted by John Cena, viewers are in for a week of thrilling encounters with apex predators and deep-sea adventures. Forrest’s episode, Alien Sharks: Ghosts of Japan, promises to be a highlight, showcasing the diversity of shark species in Japan’s waters and the critical need for conservation efforts.

Can’t wait for July 7th for Shark Week? Check out Shark Week: The Podcast with host Kasha Patel for thrilling tales from the ocean’s depths. Dive into the sea’s mysteries with your favorite apex predators and explore topics like shark telepathy and mating rituals. Listen to your podcasts on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get them.

Here’s a brief rundown of the Shark Week schedule:


  • “Belly of the Beast: Bigger and Bloodier” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “Jaws vs Leviathan” premieres at 9PM ET/PT
  • “Makozilla” premieres at 10PM ET/PT
  • “Sydney Harbor Shark Invasion” premieres at 11PM ET/PT


  • “Big Shark Energy” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “Shark Frenzy: Mating Games” premieres at 9PM ET/PT
  • “Great White Serial Killer: Sea of Blood” premieres at 10PM ET/PT


  • “Deadliest Bite” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “6000lb. Shark” premieres at 9PM ET/PT
  • “Monster Hammerheads: Species X” premieres at 10PM ET/PT


  • “Great White North” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “Expedition Unknown: Sharks vs. Nazis in Paradise” premieres at 9PM ET/PT
  • “Alien Sharks: Ghosts of Japan” premieres at 10PM ET/PT


  • “Monster of Oz” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “Caught! When Sharks Attack” premieres at 9PM ET/PT
  • “Great White Danger Zone” premieres at 10PM ET/PT


  • “The Real Sharkano” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “Sharks of the Dead Zone” premieres at 9PM ET/PT
  • “Shark Attack Island” premieres at 10PM ET/PT


  • “Sharktopia” premieres at 8PM ET/PT
  • “Mothersharker: Hammer Time” premieres at 9PM ET/PT

I encourage everyone to tune in to Shark Week and support the incredible work being done to protect our oceans and wildlife. Forrest’s journey is a testament to the power of passion and dedication in making a difference, and his story will inspire viewers to take action in their own lives.

Discovery Channel, dedicated to creating high-quality non-fiction content, brings Shark Week to life with compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography that entertain and inform viewers about the world in all its wonder, diversity, and amazement.

As a narrative therapist, I believe in the power of stories to heal and inspire. Forrest Galante’s story is a testament to the importance of conservation. By sharing his journey, we can all learn to appreciate the beauty of our natural world and the need to protect it for future generations.

Tune in to Shark Week from Sunday, July 7th to Saturday, July 13th, 2024, and let the narratives of these misunderstood predators inspire you to make a difference.